After a brief break, we return to this year’s Halloween Horrors series with the start of a 3-day block of articles dedicated (or should that be DEADicated) to the films and legacy of one of horror’s finest sons, George A. Romero. Now, I’m not going to spend this intro spouting off about what made Romero so special with countless horror fans, or about how he created the “zombie” as we know and love it today, nor about the sociological undercurrents or ramifications of his work. As I said, we have 3 upcoming writers who, in their own ways, will handle that for us. Here’s the first…
Cody Mascho made his Halloween Horrors series debut during last year’s series with his look at the Elm Street series’ “Alice”. Since then, Cody has become a contributor for the new horror site City of Geek. You can find more from them on their website, CityofGeek.com, or on their Facebook page!
For this year’s Halloween Horrors entry, Cody takes aim at the 3rd anthology film in this year’s line-up and one that is widely considered by many fans to be the best anthology of the bunch.
1982 was a truly exceptional year for horror cinema, from universally beloved films like John Carpenter’s The Thing to box office juggernauts like Tobe Hooper’s Poltergeist. From Giallo classics like Dario Argento’s Tenebre to fan favorites like Friday the 13th 3D and Halloween 3, it was absolutely loaded with true horror classics from start to finish. George A. Romero’s Creepshow, however, is an often overlooked classic with a staggering amount of talent, stunning visuals, and is top to bottom one of the best horror anthology films ever.
The story behind Creepshow is fascinating: The brainchild of George A. Romero and Stephen King, a match made in “Horror Heaven”, Creepshow actually came about as a result of the two horror icons wanting to produce a high-budget film adaptation of King’s iconic novel, “The Stand.” Unfortunately, they couldn’t secure the funding without prior box office successes. Thus, they embarked on an EC Comics-inspired anthology film, combining King’s writing, Romero’s direction, and the soon-to-be legendary Tom Savini’s special effects. The casting department was an unsung beauty, which paired Hollywood icons like the immortal Leslie Nielsen, Hal Holbrook, and EG Marshall, with rising stars of the time like Adrienne Barbeau, Ed Harris, and Ted Danson.
As a result, this movie is a goodie bag filled with horror treats! The incredibly crafted wraparound story, revolving around a boy hiding horror comics from his father, leaps off the screen like something out of childhood. “Father’s Day” is a visually gripping tale oozing with atmosphere from the eerie mansion estate and its haunting grounds. The insufferable characters perfectly encapsulate the privilege and petty drama of disconnected spoiled rich aristocrats. The final scene provides one of the film’s most iconic images, “I WANT MY CAKE, BEDELIA!!!”
“The Lonesome Death of Jordy Verrill” is a hilarious break in the action, regarding a small-minded farmer named Jordy (played by Stephen King, his best role ever IMO) and his misadventures after breaking open a fallen meteorite. Jordy’s tale has a comically tragic end, and Stephen King acts the shit out of his role as the only character in the story.
“Something to Tide You Over” features a horrifying portrait of Leslie Nielsen as he discovers his wife having an affair with Ted Danson and decides to torment him with gruesome vengeance. Some of the scenes that truly seem to jump out of a comic book are in this one. Rich greens and reds bring the horrifying images out of the comic realm and on the screen as Danson fights for his survival after being buried in the sand to his neck and left to drown. Leslie Nielsen is the true star of this segment, stealing the show and the film with his truly batshit portrayal of the husband gone mad.
“The Crate” tells the tale of an ancient yeti-like monster accidentally released in the basement of a college campus. Far and away, it is the goriest of the lot as numerous souls are ripped apart by “Fluffy”, the monster who’d been locked for so long in a crate. When Fluffy attacks, the dark room fills with a glowing red light, providing the viewer with the terror of the unknown and the striking visual of the monster attacking his victims in one of the more memorable sequences in the film. Hal Holbrook and Adrienne Barbeau steal the show as the unhappy married couple at the center of things. Barbeau in particular plays one of the most infuriating villains in horror history, so much that the viewers welcome her fate at the end of the segment.
“They’re Creeping Up On You” tells the tale of a miserable Howard Hughes-esque shut-in who fears the nasty things of life as he is tormented by a seemingly endless horde of cockroaches. Scenes from this one definitely fill the gross-out quota of the film as we are subjected to one of the more skin-crawling endings.
Creepshow provides everything from terror to laughs in a complete horror package that will satisfy anyone during a watch. From a personal perspective, it’s one of my favorite films ever! I own a VHS, DVD, and Blu-ray copy of the movie, plus copies of the graphic novel from the original print and last year’s reprint, and a copy of the 2007 documentary on the making of the film. Romero is my beloved horror grandfather of sorts. My parents frequently watched his “Dead” film series. My dad in particular shared the love of his films with me: Night of the Living Dead, Dawn of the Dead, Day of the Dead, and Creepshow itself were watched numerous times in my household, and some of my best memories are tied to them. My mom and I share a love of Stephen King, both novels and film adaptations; I have likely seen every single King adaptation ever thanks to her. (P.S. Hi Mom! Thanks for reading!). So, Creepshow has always held a special place in my heart. I’ve actually met John Amplas, who was in the “Nathan” corpse suit in “Father’s Day”, and it was by far my favorite celebrity experience ever. We shared far too many drinks, a ton of laughs, and at the end I had a signed Creepshow action figure and, I’d like to think, a new friend.
Something I love about Creepshow is that it has something for all horror fans. From zombies to ghosts to sharp-toothed monsters to disgusting bugs, it has you covered! Its serves as a great Halloween flick that I can watch with friends who have horror in their blood and with those who avoid scary movies like the plague. It can be watched by children and adults alike: Everyone can find something fun in Creepshow! That’s why I chose this film for my entry. Sure, I could wax rhapsodic about The Thing or write a love letter to Tenebre, but nothing has the pure personal connection, memories, and love that I have for Creepshow. If you haven’t had the pleasure, do yourself a favor, grab yourself some friends and a snack, and treat yourself to one of the best horror flicks of all time.